Lower the cost of life-saving insulin for diabetics

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Type one diabetes is an auto-immune disease where the cells in the pancreas are attacked, and can no longer function to break down sugar in the body. Insulin is what regulates blood sugar, and a diabetic has to administer it manually through injections or a pump in order to maintain regular blood sugar numbers. Insulin is REQUIRED to live, and everyone needs it, but diabetics are not able to produce it themselves, and have to buy man-made insulin. In the past decade, the price of this life-saving medication has skyrocketed. For example, one brand of insulin, Humalog, was $35 a vial in 2001, and went to $234 in 2015, and keeps on rising. As insulin is essential to survive for so many diabetics, there should not be such a dramatic increase in prices. Pharmaceutical companies gain off of providing a basic need, and because it is so inelastic, people will pay anything just to live a life from a disease they did not ask for. Those who cannot afford insurance, have to spend up to thousands of dollars a month out-of-pocket for their medical expenses, and even for those who do have insurance, the cost of living adds up. People have even started to ration their insulin because they cannot afford it. This leads to more medical problems, including diabetic ketoacidosis, kidney failure, nerve damage, and, in some cases, death. There needs to be an end to the unnecessary increase in insulin for diabetics.

Big insulin producers like Eli Lilly & Co., Sanofi, and Novo Nordisk gain from the needs of diabetics, and raise their prices, knowing that it is a matter of life and death. People sometimes switch their insulin because it becomes too expensive to keep using, a problem because certain insulin can affect their bodies in different ways. People should be able to stick with the insulin that works best for them, not for the company's profit. Recently, Eli Lilly & Co. released a half price form of Humalog at $137.35 a vial, however, that is still a high amount to pay per vial. Not to mention, changing insulin, though it is supposed to be the same product, could cause serious issues. To stop this increase, there needs to be an intervention of the big brands of insulin, and we need to take the reins of the situation. If enough unrest is caused, and this problem is widely shared, there will be no choice but to lower the cost. If they keep rising, more people will die, and there should not be a price on life. Of course, the companies will not go out of business, as diabetics literally cannot function without the insulin they produce, but protest can sway the corrupt mindset of the pharmaceutical giants that threaten lives with their unfair prices.

As a type one diabetic myself, I find it difficult to observe the drug that keeps me alive treated like it is designed specifically for profit, not saving lives. When Dr. Frederick Banting and other scientists manufactured the first form of man-made insulin in the 1920s, they sold the patent for $1 to make it available to all. The consumers are people in desperate need of insulin, and it should not be viewed as an elastic good when without it, people could die. I would die if I was not able to give myself insulin. It scares me to imagine a future where my insulin would cost more than my rent without insurance. And I am thankful that because I am under my parents' insurance, I am covered for now. But that may not always be so easy. I don't want to even think that I would ever have to ration my insulin, but so many people already do. On behalf of me and all diabetics, we need help to get the message out into the world. It is a disease that people choose to pick on without knowing that sugar does NOT cause it, and nobody deserves it. Most people do not know the true expenses diabetics have to deal with, and the problem will continue if people fail to see the issue seriously. Diabetes is not a joke, and either is forcing someone to excessively pay for their necessity to live.

"Insulin does not belong to me, it belongs to the world." -Dr. Frederick Banting